On High, Rachelle Adlerman

They met in a coffee shop, and began to know each other due to their mutual dislike of anything blacker than cocoa. He began telling her that she let him touch the stars, and she took to informing him that he let her know the winds. Soon they didn’t have to say it out loud any more, and eventually gravity gave up on them altogether.
People told them they looked taller, and they wore platform shoes to hide the spaces between their feet and the ground. They spent time by not leaving footprints in supermarkets and by spidering up walls in tall rooms. They would go up and not come back.
They spent hours laughing on the ceiling, pretending they knew how to get back down. They tittered about flying from the top of their roof to the bottom of an apartment building. They had nowhere to go but up.
They would get headaches, and to counteract this they learned to balance on their heads, their feet dangling above them to the floor. Then they would get lightheaded and, when their sandals fell beyond the reach of their intertwining fingers, they would play footsies until they fainted. They would wake up lying down on the ceiling, holding hands, and would talk Reaganomics in hushed exquisite voices until the subject ceased to hold any appeal. Then she would say she hated history, and he would half-heartedly agree until she began poking fun at the Egyptian gods, at which point someone would throw them each a beer and ask from across the universe when they planned to get their heads out of the clouds.
They dreamed inside of each other, in black and white, in full bloom. They slept with their clothing on because they weren’t sure it would come back to them if they didn’t. She told him one day that she missed makeup.
For her birthday he had someone toss him a pickaxe, although it got stuck in a wall, and though he never got to show her what he’d meant to do with it, it made her laugh, and she told him about the time she’d found her mother having fun with a bowling pin. He made her promise never to get a sex change. She wasn’t sure if she was ready for such a commitment, and crossed her fingers.
He began to miss warm baths and cold showers. She told him to try to reach the pickaxe again, so that he could make holes in the pipes and the running water could make him happy, but when he tried to climb down the wall to it, he began to fall, first up, with a sigh, then down, with a screeching terror, and then back up with a shrieking joy. Gravity decided it didn’t understand him at all and left them both alone for good, but she thought it had been brave of him, and kissed him, which made it a worthwhile endeavor.
He told her he wanted it to rain, and she said it would, if they went to meet it, and he said maybe they could try to reach the window. They kissed the ceiling with their feet, and grasped each other with their lips, and scraped the sill with their hands, until it became not the ceiling that impeded their progress, but the very air. They passed the pickaxe. They blinked in the red sunlight.
They whispered to each other, thoughtful, joyful, and coffee lured them on into glowing suburbia, gold and red, as the sun faded into the nothing it had always been. A raindrop slipped between their noses. They let go of the house.
This was the beginning, he told her, and she smiled and said Reaganomics again, and they became each other’s silhouettes, rising to the wind, the stars, the rain, and then their joy became too much not to share, and the very world became a part of it, and


gravity


turned


on.
 

-Rachelle Adlerman

Featured in Vol. 1 Iss. 3
Featured in Vol. 1 Iss. 3
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